The Indo-European Kashmir Forum’s seminar on 30 March was attended by the following British Politicians and the Parliamentarians and the representatives of the various Hindu Organizations :-
Baroness Emma Nicholson,a life Peer, the Rapporteur of the kashmir Report of 2007,chair of APPG for Business Development in Iraq and a former MEP.
Mr. Marcus Jones MP for Nuneaton and Bedworth, the first Conservative Leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth, in the Council’s 34 years history ,scrutinised the Mortgage Market Review Proposal, contributes to a wide range of debates and has also supported the campaign for Gurkhas for their right to settle in the UK .
Mr. Andrew Griffiths MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, an additional Secretary of the APPG for Kashmir , Secretary of the APPG for the Misuse of Drugs and Alcohol.
Mr .Richard Harrington MP for Watford, General Secretary of the APPG for Kashmir and a member of the International Development Select Committee.
Mr. Anil Bhanot OBE, Director of the Hindu Council UK.
Dr.Surendra Sharma, President of BJP UK,
Dr. Raj Pandit Sharma, Chief Preist of Shree Santan Mandir Wembley &Head of Hindu Preist Association UK.
Mr.Shantanu Bhagwat ,former diplomat and working on how to improve political system and governance in India.
Dr. Satinder Ganju, founder and President of the Kashmir Bhawan Centre in Luton.
The members of the IEKF ,the KPAE , the Roots in UK and the Malaysian Hindu Organization UK.
The seminar was chaired by Marcus Jones and Emma Nicholson jointly.
The agenda items for discussion were :-
· Rights and future of Internally
Displaced Kashmiri Hindus
· Chronology of Kashmiri Hindus
· The Article370 /the plight of
· Ethnic Cleansing/Human Rights
· Temples in Srinagar
Mr. Marcus Jones opened the seminar at 3.30pm by extending a warm welcome to the participants of the seminar. He gave a brief description of his involvement with the Indo –European Kashmir Forum (IEKF) and the seminar.
Krishna Bhan thanked Marcus Jones for making it possible to hold the seminar in the House of Commons and also for extending the invitation to the other MPs. She outlined the role of the IEKF and highlighted the plight of Kashmiri Hindus since 1989.She stated that 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus were forced to leave their ancestral homes through a genocidal campaign unleashed by the militants, only a few thousand remaining in the valley.
The full text of KB’s Introduction / Background is attached.
Baroness Emma Nicholson made a presentation to Krishna Bhan for the work done by the IEKF in highlighting the plight of Kashmiri Hindus.
Emma gave an excellent insight in to the status of Internally Displaced Persons and said it is the responsibility of the government concerned to provide assistance and protection to the Internally Displaced Persons. Emma made a reference to the Refugees Convention of 1951 and stated that the Government of India was not keen to join the Convention. The Government does not have an Internally Displaced Persons policy .Emma had visited the refugees camps in Jammu and found the youngsters went to school during the day and at night with as many as seventeen/eighteen other people they stayed in concrete shanks. These young people have aspirations to have professional qualifications. Emma mentioned that Internally Displaced Persons have fundamental basic human rights to education ,health and shelter.
Emma stated the Government of India needs to set up a Fact Finding Committee for the young Kashmiri Hindu Internally Displaced Persons to plan forward and take practical steps to full fill their aspirations and the needs. The British businessmen also might provide funds for IDP camps and it could be started in small successful trickles.
Finally, Emma said that the Kashmiri Hindus have her full support.
Mr. Richard Harrington gave a brief introduction to his All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir. He mentioned about his trip to the Pakistan –administered Kashmir. Mr. Harrington stated that APPG is an additional resource available to the Kashmiri Hindus.
Mr. Anderw Griffiths said it is important that the focus remains on the plight of Kashmiri Hindus and to find a way of breaking a deadlock to get the lives of young people highlighted. Kashmir gets little coverage in India and the issue of Kashmir has not drawn much attention. He further stated that the Kashmir issue is used as a political football .Britain has a moral responsibility and can not walk away from it. It is a case of human rights and religious freedom for both sides. Mr. Griffiths said the individual members have the responsibility of contacting their own MPs as the Kashmir issue is a cross party issue.
Dr.Raj Pandit Sharma made an informative power point presentation on the historical chronology of the Jammu and Kashmir State .Dr .Pandit Sharma bagan his presentation by showing the Pir Panchal range and the Vale of Kashmir .He explained the Valley’s origin from the waters ,how the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake. This lake was drained by the great Rishi, Kashyapa, by cutting a gap in the hills .In the first half of the first millennium, the Kashmir region became an important centre of Buddhism and later of Hinduism.
RPS’s complete power point is attached
Mr. Shantanu Bhagwat made a power point presentation on Article 370 and the plight of Kashmiri refugees due to the forced exodus in 1989/1990.He gave a detailed background to the Article 370 and he said that the existence of this article is a barrier to enduring peace in Jammu and Kashmir and to the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus in the Valley. He further stated that the similar Articles in the other States of India were adopted but only temporarily and by November 1949 all the States with the exception of J&K-had issued Proclamation making Constitution of India operative in their State.
For complete information please follow the attached link to the slides that Mr. Bhagwat presented:
Mr. Anil Bhanot spoke on the Kashmir ethnic cleansing and human rights. He said that to understand the current problems of Kashmir one needs to go back and trace the history of Kashmir. Kashmir is known as the fountain –head of Hindu spirituality. It was in Kashmir the first Rishis-Seers-who connected with the all –pervasive ,omnipresent Parmatma. The Hindu concept of God and the civilization thrived under a spiritual base as opposed to a materialistic base. At the beginning of the last millennium around 1000AD an Islamist Mahmud of Gazni invaded India and this balanced civilization was challenged by a barbaric ideology .Anil spoke about the rising Muslim influence in 1400AD and Sikandar’s barbaric conversions. The Pandits were given the three choices ,conversion ,leave or die. The Valley never recovered from this ideology.
In 1819-1846 Sikhs rebelled with swords and they regained Kashmir. With some other Hindu Kings and with the British protectorate peace and human rights were restored to the Valley once again.
After independence in 1947 the history of conflict with Pakistan and with the militants the same ideology of leave ,convert or die from political Islam continues.
Geelani’s new poly of saying that he is against the secularism of India and not the Hindus is just a cover up.
The full presentation text of A B’s is available.
Dr. Surendra Sharma highlighted the plight of Kashmiri Hindus and the failure of the successive Central and State Governments to address the issues of Kashmiri Hindus. He mentioned that Article 370 should be removed to allow the peace process to return to Kashmir. He hoped that the membership of 370 BJP MPs in the Indian Parliament will put an end to Article 370 in Kashmir. Surendra mentioned the proxy war continues across the region and over sixty thousand lives have been lost so far. He stated further that J&K is an integral part of India and it is high time that the Pakistan occupied Kashmir is restored back to India.
Dr. Satinder Ganju displayed the posters of temples in Kashmir and highlighted the religious heritage of the State. Satinder stated that the Amnesty International has already done some work in Kashmir and this Organization’s involvement with the human rights issue in Kashmir is highly important.
Krishna Bhan extended her profound thanks and gratitude to Baroness Emma Nicholson, ,Mr.Marcu Jones, Mr.Andrew Griffiths,Mr Richard Harrington for their attendance and for their contribution.
The eloquent speakers were thanked sincerely for their excellent presentations .
Finally, Krishna thanked all the participants of the seminar and the seminar concluded at 5.45 pm.